Runner…You Are Not Alone

When I began this running site it was a way to keep me focused on my goal of running my first half marathon.  Over time it has developed into something much more.  It has manifested itself into a place where beginning runners seek validation or motivation.  It has also become a place where those who are suffering from an injury or self-doubt can find solace in the fact that someone out there completely understands what they are going through.

I am sometimes flabbergasted that people out there would think that I know anything about anything, especially running.  But, I do my best to provide encouragement and, most of all, hope.  I know that injuries and self-doubt can often derail our plans and make us question our abilities.  However, I also know that it’s support from others that often provides the spark we need to keep moving forward.  Even if that spark is minimal, it’s nonetheless a spark and means maybe, just maybe, that fuse will stay lit.  I know that I am not a subject matter expert on running, but I do my best to empathize with everyone.

Sometimes we learn to believe in ourselves in spite of ourselves, if that makes any sense at all. What I’m trying to say is that we are often the reason we don’t succeed at something.  We begin to doubt ourselves, which is actually pretty easy to do, especially if we are reaching for a goal all on our own.  What we forget is that there are other people out there struggling with the same things.  My blog has opened my eyes to the running community and the struggles that runners face.  It has made me realize that Rachel and I are not alone.

I remember telling Rachel that if I could inspire one person to run or keep running, then I would know that I kept my blog up for a reason.  When I finished my first half marathon I saw no reason to keep talking about my experiences.  Frankly, I didn’t think people cared.  Then, out of nowhere, people began asking me questions and looking for advice.  I had everything from, “How do I become a runner?” to “What do I do about my runner’s knee?”  I answered to the best of my knowledge and tried to do so as a fellow runner who understood the trials and tribulations of running.  What I realized is that over time I was helping people keep running.  But, the kicker is, they were all keeping me running.  I needed them, just as much as they needed me.  To this day I am still running because of all of you who believe in me.

I have often asked God what my purpose is in life and I have always told Rachel that I think I am supposed to help people in some way; to give them hope and give them courage.  I don’t know if I have ever really done that, but I try.  It has been so humbling to have people tell me “Thank you for your blog.”  If fills me with an overwhelming sense of gratitude.  It makes me glad that this running website stopped being about me a long time ago.

This running blog is for all of those people who are searching for someone to believe in them.  This blog is for every runner who never thought they were a runner.  This blog is for those who are looking for hope and encouragement.  This blog is for every person who has attempted to move faster than a quick walk and who have done their best to go further than they ever thought possible, both in running and in life.

I want to say thank you again to all of you who keep me running.  I hope that I have done the same for you.  As always I welcome any questions or concerns.  I know I am not an elite runner or a doctor, but I guarantee I will answer your questions as a fellow runner and friend.

“Always start to finish.  Never finish with regret.”

By Raul Alanis

16 thoughts on “Runner…You Are Not Alone

  1. Excellent post! The line “sometimes we learn to believe in ourselves, in spite of ourselves” really hits home. I don’t think I have been on a run where at some point I second guess what I am doing or why I am doing it to myself, but then I finish and I can’t wait until the next time. I think the exercise of having self-doubt and then conquering it on every run will result in a big payout in all other aspects of life, eventually.

    1. Thanks Henry!! I do think that we are often our own worst enemy. It’s when we start to doubt ourselves that we run into trouble. I was running 5 miles on the treadmill yesterday and I got to this point where I was like, “Oh my gosh, I am tired! I want to stop.” Then, I could see my reflection in the window and I thought, “Raul, look at you, you’re running 5 miles!!! You never thought you could do this. Now stand up straight and keep running. You got this!” Then, I looked over at Rachel who was jumping rope behind me. She looked up at me and smiled and that was the moment I thought, “Sometimes we learn to believe in ourselves in spite of ourselves.” I realized that not only had I gotten to where I was because of my hard work, but also because of her and everyone who has written on my blog. You are completely right when you say that having self-doubt and conquering it on every run results in big payouts in life. So many aspects of my life have changed as a result of running. I am a much more confident person and I really do believe that anything is possible now. Keep running Henry!! Thanks for the great comment!

  2. Raul, I was SO happy the day I found your blog. As you remember it was right before my 1/2 marathon and my knee was giving out. I searched madly online for something or someone who would just say, “I’ve been there and it’ll be ok”. I found you and this blog. You have been there and you did get it and you gave me the advice and support I was looking for and I was able to complete my race without chopping my leg off! :o) You and Rachel’s journey together in life and running is an inspiration! I really think this blog and what you do here is your calling it’s not always about having credentials to prove you know things sometimes just having been there and done that is even more motivating! Keep up the great work and I’ll be here reading and enjoying!

    Any upcoming races on your schedule?

    1. Hey Jody!!! Long time no talk to!!!! How are things? I am so happy you found my blog. It was great to hear about how you were able to run that half marathon and even served as inspiration to me, especially during our marathon. I am just so glad you didn’t have to go all 127 hours on your leg, although it would have been an interesting story and would have likely gotten you on the Today show or something. Headline: “Woman with bad knee chops off leg during 1/2 marathon and finishes with PR.”

      Thank you for your continued support!! As far as upcoming races we are thinking about running a 5K soon. We intend to run another full marathon and half marathon, but right now we kind of miss running for speed. Rachel feels like she can improve on her 5K and we want to see if we can go out there and kill our old times. I think it’s the whole, man, if we can run a full marathon a 5K would be nothing. But, of course when you run for speed it takes a lot out of you. I haven’t run a 5K at full speed in almost two years!!

  3. Hey! I’m great! Y’know in hindsight, especially after just reading your Today Show idea, I’m kinda bumming I didn’t got 127…Can you imagine how badass I would have come off??? Oh well, I’ve got alot of races left in me and maybe I’ll make a name for myself in one of the others!

    I hear you about the 5k’s! I just signed up for 2 in March just to do some speed stuff and try and best my old times. I’ve got a 1/2 Marathon in May also. It’ll be a fun one it’s Santa Barbara to Solvang with a Wine festival at the end. Wine at the end is a nice finishing motivator! Have you guys ran any trail races? I’ve done a couple of short ones but I’d like to get into some more hardcore ones this year.

    Good luck on the 5k’s! Be fast…pretend someone is chasing you with a machete if you feel yourselves slowing down! works for me! 😉

  4. This is amazing post, and is defiantley my inspiration of the day….. I just signed up for my first full marathon with my church. The Chicago Marathon…. and we are raising money to give kids in Kenya clean water. I will be turning 16 in April. I am very honored to be accomplishing something like this…and I blog to inspire people to be the change they want to see. Your blog is, amazing!!! Thanks !!!

    1. Thank you for your comment!!! 🙂 I think it’s wonderful that you are going to run your first full marathon. I think it’s even better than you are raising money for such a great cause. When you run for something other than yourself it makes accomplishing the goal all the more fulfilling. You should be extremely proud of yourself for doing what you are doing and helping/inspiring others to change for the better. Running a full marathon is an experience you will never forget. Keep up the awesome work you are doing!!!!

  5. Thank you again for your encouragement, advice and information. Also, thanks for your sponsor towards my recent run in the ING Miami Marathon, and my team Chai Lifeline, helping kids with Cancer. I ran my first 1/2 and finding your blog a week before, was a big help. I am ready for my next!
    I wish you and Rachel all the best, and know that you are making a difference in our lives, and in the lives of those with illness. I hope you reach your goal and that you all have the strength to do what you wish.

      1. I hope you got my sponsor. I gave 36$ which is 18×2. In Judaism, 18=numerical value of the word חי ‘life’. So I gave you life times 2.

      2. Thank you so much for your donation!!! It means so much to us. It will go a long way in helping everyone with Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS). We really do appreciate it so much. Plus, we love the reason for the donation amount. 🙂

  6. I wanted to thank you for writing for those runners who need support and encouragement. I am that runner. I have ran a half marathon last year but i ran with a group. This year I want to run a full marathon and I am training on my own. I am determined to reached my goal but I know it will not be easy. I look to your blogs to keep me going. Thank you

    1. I have always tried to encourage people to take full control of their lives and get healthy. It is nice to hear that I have accomplished that goal and it makes me want to continue to do so. I look forward to hearing about your full marathon experience and the training. I have always said, enjoy the process – all those seemingly inconsequential moments of training are what you will enjoy and remember the most. I am not only glad I ran a full marathon, I am glad that me and my wife trained for it on our own. It makes it more special. The challenges that you will face and overcome along the way will make you stronger and help you to view life with a different perspective. I think it’s great that you have chosen to train for and run a full marathon. You have the most important key to being successful in your accomplishing your goal…you have belief in yourself. Never lose that belief and allow it guide you in everything. Good luck to you and keep me updated. If you have any questions feel free to ask. 🙂

  7. I have completed week one of training. I am going by your training schedule you have offered on your blogs. Now you said, Monday’s are fast runs? When did you start running the 3 miles quickly? Right away in training or after a few weeks? Also, Wednesday are followed by 4 football field length sprints? Do you complete the sprints after the run for that day? Are their any other specifics on the training schedule that you could possibly clear up for me. I want to make sure I do the schedule correctly! Thank you : )

    1. I am glad to help. We absolutely loved this training schedule because it allowed us to kind of go at our own pace. Honestly, I would say complete the mileage in a way that is easiest for you. It works you up gradually, which is great. We always tried to run our fastest on Monday’s. So if the Monday run called for 3 miles we would time ourselves and try to beat our times from the previous week. However, we actually stopped trying to run as fast as we could on Monday’s because it seemed to lead to more injuries. I would say to run at a comfortable quick pace on Monday’s, but don’t worry too much about speed. Of course try to run faster then the pace you have on Saturdays, since as you move on in the schedule the runs will be much longer. I wouldn’t go into quick runs right away, because you need to get your body used to running long distances and doing too much too soon will just lead to injuries (as I am all too aware). As far as the sprints, we would do that after our long run. However, I will point out that sprinting seemed to lead to more injuries as well. In my later half marathons I followed this schedule and didn’t even worry about the sprints and actually got faster times. If anything I would just try to run a little faster on one of the weekly runs instead of trying to do sprints after.

      The schedule prepared us really well for our first half marathon and subsequent half marathons, and we didn’t really change it. It really is…what you see is what you get. I would make sure on your long Saturday run to take it easy, especially since your building up the mileage. Run it comfortably and don’t try and go all out. Save that for the half marathon. On Monday’s or Wednesday’s maybe try and run faster than your other weekly runs. Other than that I think the schedule speaks for itself. When we first started using this schedule we felt the same way. We didn’t know how fast we should try and run or how to go about it. Then we decided we would go at our own pace, realizing that the most important thing was that we build up our mileage each Saturdays. We also made sure to complete the our runs during the week with the mileage specified. If we got tired we said, well, it’s okay to slow down. There was no pressure. When we ran our first half after following this schedule we were amazed at how easy it was. Even the two that followed felt easy. We were able to run the half marathons without any problems and we were able to run much faster than in training. I think it was good because the schedule didn’t really burn us out and we felt confident with this schedule going into each race. Oh, one thing I would say you could change is on week 7 you can just run 11 miles instead of 12. We did that for our last two half marathons and were fine.

      If you have any other questions please feel free to ask. If I didn’t answer anything sufficiently please let me know. I want to make sure you have no worries at all and continue your training with the utmost confidence. Good luck and let me know if you need anything. 🙂

  8. Okay, this sounds great. I will just ease into the training to help build confidence. I like the idea of timing the shorter runs and trying to bet the time, eventually. Thank you for your input, I take it to heart.

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